It’s OK Not to Share

When we go to the library, I usually end up taking 10 – 20 books out for Mr. C, he goes through them quickly so we’ll usually go once a week.  I’ll also sometimes take a parenting advice book out as well.  We like to read that anecdotes these books include to illustrate their theories, if only to see how other parents react to parenting situations.  So J and I will go through the book, find a few bits of advice we can use, and end up making fun of the rest of the book and return it fairly quickly to the library.

Most of these books are harmless and maybe a little amusing, but nothing compares to the book I took out last week.  ’It’s OK Not to Share’ by Heather Shumaker.  From the title I thought it might provide some contrary theories on the standard practices, and it does. I didn’t end up reading much of the book, so this is not going to be much of a book review.

One interesting thing is that she thinks that ‘Good Job!’ is overused.  It becomes meaningless after awhile.  Instead you should try to say something with more detail so the child knows exactly what was so good like, ‘That’s a great Lego car, how did you do that ?’.   I can see that, I’m getting tired of hearing ‘Good Job’ myself.  I hear it all the time, such as at playgrounds, parents say it  barely looking up from their smart phones, as their kid hangs upside down from one leg on the jungle gym.  OK, I guess that makes sense.  It does seem as though he does appreciate it when we say something more substantial than just the usual ‘Good Job!’.  Saying something with more detail will also get him to explain what he did further as well.  Like the time he was able to climb to the top of the highest slide at the playground.  ”You were able to climb all the way up there!”, we said.  ’I used to be scared of that, but that was when I was a baby.”  (Which of course made Ms. J miss those baby times!)

But then I checked out what she had to say about curse words.  She says that kids are just trying to get a reaction out of their parents, and the best thing to do is to tell your child that they can only say those words in the bathroom.  And with that, I had to close the book and return it to the library.  There’s just no way I’m telling a three year old to go ahead and say whatever he wants in the bathroom.  He loves the slight echo he gets in our bathroom, so I picture him yelling four letter words all day long in the bathroom, either to try to get a laugh from us, or to just make himself laugh.

This week he yelled out a four letter word during dinner.

Why are you saying that ?

I just want to make Mommy and Dada laugh.

Why don’t you say something that really will make us laugh, like ‘Bubbles!’

So he’s been yelling ‘bubbles,bubbles,bubbles!!’  whenever he wants to make us laugh.  It was the first word I thought of at the time, but it’s actually is kind of funny having him try to make us laugh now. We’re his own captive audience.

“Bubbles, everybody, Bubbles!   Thank you, thank you, I’m here every night! ”







It’s OK Not to Share — 2 Comments

  1. Interesting book… If you really want a wonderful book on parenting, which actually includes a lot of research, go for Nurture Shock by Po Bronson. I’ts the BEST book I’ve ever read as a parent and it really tears down a lot of preconceived ideas about what’s best for kids.

    As for swear words, I won’t judge you on that since we use them at our house. As a linguist and a communications professional, I think my kids should learn all kinds of words and their appropriate use. And honestly, I’d rather have them learn these words from me, understand what they mean and why they’re not OK to say in public, rather than learn them from others and use them inappropriately. It’s probably because I’m French and swearing is seen as part of the language.

    • I should have also wrote that it was the first time he had said anything like that. I guess we had not even thought it would happen yet, so we hadn’t even talked about what the plan would be. I guess it could be another post about how he’s growing up faster than we can read ahead in these parenting books!

      Funny that you mention Po Bronson, I had read one of his books, on another subject, a few years ago and I was just wondering what he was up to. He used to have commentaries on NPR, but I haven’t heard anything from him in awhile. I’ll look for that book.